162 Ruff
(Philomachus pugnax)


29-32cm (male) and 22-26cm (female) Marked sexual size difference: males considerably larger than females. Largest males slightly bigger and bulkier-bodied than Redshank; smallest females only slightly larger-bodied than Dunlin. Small-headed/large-bodied look, rather long neck, and medium-length bill which is slightly curved. Frequent habit of slightly raising mantle-feathers when feeding.Thin, indistinct light wing-bar but bold white oval patch on each side of uppertail. Bill and leg colour variable: some non-breeding males with bright orange bill-base and legs easily confused with Redshank. Display-plumage of male has erectable crest and ruff in variable combinations of plain or coarsely barred black, deep rufous, orange or white; worn only in May-Jun. Bill, warty skin on face, and legs usually orange.


In Hungary the Ruff often masses of several thousands migrate through fishponds, alkali lakes and grasslands in spring February to May, with migration peaks in March-April. In this period flocks of up to tens of thousands of birds can be seen in Great Plain. A few individuals regularly oversummer, and very occasionally overwinter. May breed occasionally on wet meadows. Also common on autumn passage though in somewhat smaller numbers between August and November).

Can be found in the following IBAs

07 BA)

162 Ruff pic

© Graphics by Szabolcs Kókay

Source: 1) Lovászi Péter (editor): Javasolt különleges madárvédelmi területek Magyarországon, Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, 2002; 2) BirdLife International:IUCN Red List for birds. Species factsheet; 3) Králl Attila, Nagy Károly: Fontos Madárélőhelyek Magyarországon (Területek, kritériumok és minősítő fajok) MME Monitoring Központ, 2007; 4) Szabolcs Kókay bird illustrations; 5) www.hungarianbirdwatching.com bird descriptions and checklists, 2004-2012; 6) Lars Svensson et al.: Collins Bird Guide: The Most Complete Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe 2nd Edition, Harper Collins, 2010; 7) MME Nomenclator Bizottság: Nomenclator avium Hungariae. An annotated list of the birds of Hungary. Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, 2008